[Dixielandjazz] Alan Greenspan & Woody Herman

Stephen Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Wed Dec 3 16:17:35 PST 2003

It would have been difficult, but not imposible, for Alan Greenspan to
have played in Woody Herman's Band in 1946 or later.  He was attending
New York University.

Dr. Greenspan received a BS in Economics from New York University in
1948 graduating Summa Cum Laude. He then got his MA in Economics from
NYU in 1950. A heavy course load.

That does not leave a lot of time between say 1946 and 1950 to be
gigging with Herman, except perhaps in a rare instance of sitting in.  I
like this quote from his days with Jerome's Band.

"Bob Woodward called his biography of Federal Reserve chairman Alan
Greenspan Maestro for two reasons. First, Greenspan is a musician. He
started out as a Julliard-trained jazz sax man. "He wasn't a good
improviser," Woodward reports. And while the other guys got stoned all
night, Greenspan "read economics and business books and eventually
became the band's bookkeeper." He also cultivated powerful pals, like
Ayn Rand, whose coterie dubbed the dour young man "The Undertaker."

Perhaps the Herman connection is a result of the following quote from
www.jazzsite.uk. You can see it by google searching for "Alan Greenspan
+ Woody Herman"

"As the US economy booms, much of the credit goes to top banker Allan
(sic) Greenspan, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, and certainly among
the most powerful people in the world. But could he be related to the
Allan (sic) Greenspan who played trombone (sic) in the Henry Jerome Band
in New York in the 1940s, alongside Al Cohn and trumpeter Johnny Mandel?
Yes he could: in fact according to Gene Lees' biography of Woody Herman
it is the same Allan (sic) Greenspan. I wonder if he had a nickname. How
about 'Fat Cat'?"

In the above, besides the misspelling of "Alan", and the wrong
instrument, the writer alludes to the Herman Biography, but the quote
does not say that Greenspan was in Herman's Band. A casual reading of
it, however, could infer that Greenspan was in Herman's Band. Also, note
that Greenspan did have a nickname given by Ayn Rand, "The Undertaker".

This could be the source of the "Herman Connection" especially since
some of Jerome's men did indeed join the Herman Band.

Steve Barbone

PS. And didn't the late 1940s Herman band feature the "Four Brothers" on
saxes? Greenspan, according to all accounts would have been like a duck
out of water in such fast company.

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